Recently, I have caught the opposite of homesickness–a home-boredom if you will, and it has left me wanting to live anywhere other than Las Vegas. I don’t expect to pick up and leave everything behind me once high school ends, but lately it seems like I am not connecting with my friends like I used to and the hangouts spots I used to enjoy are becoming too familiar to keep me entertained. 

I understand there are many opportunities here, but I fear the consequences of sticking around for too long. I could get stuck in commitments, or change my goals and end up settling for this small desert. Despite all the cool things about Vegas, the last thing I want is to end up staying in the same place I grew up, and never getting the experience of living somewhere independently. 

Don’t get me wrong. Living in Vegas for the past 15 years hasn’t been all headaches and cigarette smoke. I have met people and gained experiences I will cherish for a lifetime; but, my heart still aches to branch out and live somewhere new. Somewhere that has a culture of its own and is preferably larger than Vegas, a place that I could raise a family–or just myself, in is where I wish to reside. 

My true “American Dream” doesn’t entail anything about building my family up where the wind blows wild and free. Especially because all the people I admire most, like Oprah Winfrey or Willow Smith, didn’t find their fame by staying put in their hometown. Home will always mean Nevada to me, sure, but that doesn’t mean I can’t find comfort in other places. I will cherish the adrenaline of walking the strip at night and the convenience of markets open 24 hours, but it isn’t enough to keep me from exploring new heights. 

Like authors from the University of Notre Dame and the Federal Reserve Board in the Journal of Economic Perspectives said; “The notion that one can pick up and move to a location that promises better opportunities has long been an important part of the American mystique.” It feels like it is my destiny to branch out and try something new–especially since I have associated staying in my hometown with failing. 

Leaving home is a leap that is scary to make, that no one can ever really be ready for, but I know it will help me develop a better understanding of myself and encourage me to step out of my comfort zone. Just like every bird in a nest, at some point I have to leap out and take a risk. Even if things don’t go as planned, I would rather have lived saying I tried than never to have tried at all. Vegas will always be here, but the sage and pines aren’t enough to keep me satisfied anymore. 

Will you be staying in Vegas after high school?